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Each week on The Download, Inman’s Christy Murdock takes a deeper look at the top-read stories of the week to give you what you’ll need to meet Monday head-on. This week: NAR’s latest Realtor safety proposal and resources for taking better care of yourself IRL and online.
Real estate agents talk a lot about the “dangers” of discounting commissions or ramping back on work hours, but we know that there are other, very real dangers out there. From meeting up with a new client for the first time to walking an overgrown property, there are myriad ways for agents to be injured (or worse).
In addition, there are online dangers that can have frightening consequences, from cyberstalkers to social media hacks. With so much confidential information carried around on their phones and laptops, security breaches can have a devastating impact on an agent’s finances and professional reputation.
Last week, NAR’s Realtor Safety Advisory Committee proposed changes to the MLS designed to forewarn agents about dangerous conditions before they reach a property they’re planning to preview or show. Find out more about the specifics of that proposal, and check out our survey of Inman’s recent agent safety content.
Danger ahead: MLSs consider agent alerts for perilous properties by Andrea Brambila
From wild animals to hazardous property conditions, Realtors face innumerable dangers in the course of doing business as usual. That’s why, at NAR’s Midyear Conference last week, the Realtor Safety Advisory Committee proposed changes to the MLS that would give agents a heads-up before they go into harm’s way when showing a listing.
The eight new fields have already been piloted by five MLSs and include
- no heat
- minimal or no exterior lighting
- minimal or no interior lighting
- remote/limited visibility from the road
- electricity not on
- inconsistent cell service
Thus far, in one MLS in the pilot program, the fields have been used for about 8 percent of listings, for a total of 544 use cases.
“It is a strong belief and considered opinion of the Realtor Safety Advisory Committee that the recommended modifications to the MLS fields will increase safety, potentially saving lives and help ensure that every Realtor comes home safely each night,” Tiffany Meyer, chair of NAR’s Realtor Safety Advisory Committee, said.
Andrea Brambila lays out the rationale for the proposal along with implementation guidelines to ensure compliance with fair housing. Once you’re all caught up, check out her full overview for all of the takeaways from last week’s impactful NAR Midyear Conference.
This is, of course, just the latest recognition of the very real dangers that real estate agents face as they meet with leads, clients and even colleagues; door-knock; and market online. While tragedies regularly make the headlines, nearly every real estate agent has probably, at one time or another, found themselves in frightening or potentially dangerous situations.
Inman regularly writes about Realtor safety, both in real life and online. Here’s a roundup of some of our recent coverage and commentary to help you stay safe out there.
Have a plan, bring a buddy: How agents door-knock today
After the violence of four recent “wrong-place, wrong-time” shootings, Inman contributor Rachael Hite penned an op-ed that explored the various instances of gun violence, posited that knocking on strangers’ doors is not a safe way to get new business and called for an end to door-knocking. The agent community responded with a wide variety of thoughts. While door-knocking has both advocates and detractors, the takeaway from the conversation was, by-and-large, along the lines of “You do you, Boo.”
- After Ralph Yarl, it’s time to retire door-knocking once and for all
- Don’t knock door-knocking. The benefits still outweigh the risk
- 9 ways to get new clients without having to door-knock
The dark side of ChatGPT, deepfakes and real estate
All of the big bads aren’t lurking outside your front door. Some of them are in your phone or email or waiting for you on social media. As a trusted fiduciary, you have to look out for your clients as well as yourself. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep up with technology; it just means you need to be educated on its perils as well as its potential, writes safety expert Tracey Hawkins. Here are her tips for taking advantage of the benefits of AI while also playing it safe.
EXTRA: Unleashing the trolls: Unpacking the wild world of online comments
What we can learn from Ana Walshe’s disappearance
When real estate agent Ana Walshe went missing on January 1 of this year, it took days for anyone to sound the alarm about her disappearance. According to Rachael Hite, it’s up to all of us to start looking out for each other better. If you were missing, how long would it be before anyone would realize it and come looking for you? Here, she offers a list of actionable, easy-to-implement processes to ensure that you’re safer and that we’re all better cared for.